The Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility is a university-wide center that supports student and faculty ethics-related education and activities, as well as outreach to community, private and public institutions.

Our Mission

The Maguire Ethics Center seeks to recognize, honor, and model ethical behavior; provide moral reflection on the contemporary issues; and celebrate ethics that reflect SMU's fundamental goals.

What We Do

Student Formation:

Helps students connect their intellectual, spiritual, and leadership capacities for service to the world around them; provides resources for them to accomplish "hands on" projects aimed at increasing student advocacy leadership, ethical reflection, and service skills; and emphasizes ethical leadership and day-to-day decision making. The Center seeks to challenge and encourage the development of ethical discernment, imagination, and action among students.

Curricular and Faculty Development:

Supports the creation of undergraduate, graduate and professional-school courses in practical ethics and leadership studies and assists university faculty in bringing research into their classrooms, and integrating ethics with their community service.

Community Dialogue:

Addresses pertinent contemporary issues with conferences throughout the academic year. Local and national experts in their field stimulate discussion and thought with participants by sharing their insights and experiences across a wide range of topics. Community Partnerships:

Collaborates with civic, professional, and business organizations to offer university resources to build healthier communities in the DFW area and to provide students with internships and other personal and professional growth opportunities.

Participates in the burgeoning national commitment to "university citizenship" through research and publication on ethics and leadership and to promote Southern Methodist University as a key voice in national conferences on leadership, service, and ethics-related scholarship and education.

Public Virtue Recognition:

Honors community citizens who exemplify the spirit of moral leadership and public virtue.

Our History:

The Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility was funded by an endowment of $2.5 million from its namesake in 1995. The center is the culmination of years of planning by visionary members of the faculty, then-Provost Ruth Morgan, President ad interim James Kirby, and President Gerald Turner, all of whom believe that in today's hurried world it takes intentional reflection to devise ethical responses to society's problems. 

Our first director (1995-98) was Professor William F. May, who was also the first member of the faculty to occupy the Maguire Chair in Ethics and who more recently held the Cary and Ann Maguire Chair in American History and Ethics in the John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress.  Many of the center's current activities and programs were established during Bill May's productive tenure as director.

Our second director (1998-2005), Professor Richard O. Mason, the Carr P. Collins Professor of Management Information Sciences Emeritus at the Cox School of Business, continued the center along the course charted by Bill May and intensified our outreach to other educational and business organizations in the Dallas-Fort Worth community.

The third director was Professor Thomas Mayo (2005-2010) of the Dedman School of Law.  He continued the programs normally sponsored by the Maguire Center and created ongoing relationships with the North Texas Bioethics Network and the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture.  In addition, he expanded the number of public service interns that the center sponsors and directed the first two-day conference that the center had ever held.

Our fourth director is Rita G. Kirk, Ph.D., (2011- Present), Professor of Communication Studies at the Meadows School of the Arts.